Trainer Tony Gollan is confident that the application of blinkers will aids Looks Like The Cat when he returns to racing in the 2014 Danehill Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.
Looks Like The Cat was one of the most consistent juvenile performers during the 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival and he stamped himself as a genuine spring hopeful with a string of impressive efforts in the Group 2 Champagne Classic (1200m), Group 2 BRC Sires Produce Stakes (1350m) and Group 1 J.J. Atkins (1600m).
Gollan told Racing Ahead that he has been thrilled with Looks Like The Cat since he returned from a stint in the spelling paddock and is excited to see how he performs when he wears blinkers for the first time under race conditions in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m).
“We have gone with the blinkers, we have had them on him a lot of times in trackwork and also in the jump outs,” Gollan said.
“We think that it is an important gear change for the horse and can only aid him in his spring preparation.
“He is just a little bit more focused.
“In a lot of his runs he hits a bit of a flat spot and I’m not sure if that is because he is short of his best distances, which I think is a mile and a mile and a quarter, or whether he needs the blinkers to concentrate that little bit when the sprint goes on.
“I guess we are going to find a lot more answers to those questions during the spring and especially this weekend.
“It will also help him up the big straight at Flemington where horses can get lost at their first time.”
Looks Like The Cat arrived in Melbourne last weekend along with stablemates Pienka and Traveston Girl and Gollan is confident that the son of Husson has acclimatized to his new environment ahead of the Danehill Stakes this weekend.
“He has settled in quiet well,” Gollan said.
“The three-year-olds all flew down last Thursday night and they had a little bit longer to settle in than the older horses.
“It is very important because they are very lost there for the first three or four days, it is quite a big training centre and it is different to what they are used to at Eagle Farm.
“With every day they have gotten more accustomed to their routine and they are at a point where I am extremely happy with him.”
The 2014 Danehill Stakes has drawn a near capacity field of 16 talented three-year-olds and Looks Like The Cat will jump from barrier 12 with leading Queensland jockey Damian Browne on board.
Gollan believes that the wide barrier draw is ideal for Looks Like The Cat and he feels that it gives the three-year-old the opportunity to wind up and run home strongly in the final stages of the Danehill Stakes.
“I think he has drawn perfect for him and I would say that he will be forward of the back third,” Gollan said.
“There is really good speed in this race and it is definitely a quality field, I think it is a very edition of the Danehill this year.
“He will be in front of the back third there, getting to the outside and nice clear running in the last two furlongs.”
Looks Like The Cat is currently available at 2014 Danehill Stakes odds of $11, with Chris Waller-trained Brazen Beau ($4.50) a clear favourite from McKenzie Stakes winner Rich Enuff ($6) and debut winner Galaxy Pegasus ($7.50).